I have a MacMini hooked up to our big screen in our house.
We use a MacMini instead of Apple TV for two reasons
1) We still (although less and less) need to play a DVD. Mostly for the kids to playback our collection of disks or to watch new movies that come our on DVD first.
2) I like having a browser on the big screen. The wireless mouse/keyboard is a bit wonky from the couch but I like playing music from my Tumblr dashboard or going to any website I want.
I wish Apple would invest more time & energy in their Front Row application which provides media player with a UI built for the tv and their remote control.
Front Row is now lagging behind AppleTV in many features (e.g. no flickr support, can’t buy tv shows or movies etc)
Should Apple try and keep Front Row in sync with AppleTV? Maybe.
Instead I think they just open it up. Let developers create applications for it. The idea of all functionality coming from one company just doesn’t scale.
I’ve known the guys at Boxee for well over a year. I know how great their application is. I’ve seen many demo’s and it’s fantastic. I’ve been slow at installing it on my MacMini because up until recently they didn’t have DVD playback support and we moved houses last month so it’s been a bit crazed.
But this weekend I’m installing Boxee which basically replaces FrontRow with a better and more social experience. It solves all the limitations of FrontRow with flickr support and it works with many many other 3rd party web services. And it’s open source and open for developers.
I think Apple is missing a big one here.